Photo Credit: Palm tree covered island in Belize just off the main coast, with calm blue waters.
This 100-Year-Old Community Will Have To Move To Panama's Mainland As Island Sinks
One 100-year-old community in Panama is being made to move to the mainland due to dangerously high rising sea levels. Climate change made living environments unsafe which prompted the decision, a trend becoming increasingly more frequent. The island is one of 365 islands in the San Blas archipelago. Residents of Gardi Sugdub are now being forced to leave for the first time.
The 39 inhabited islands were settled more than a century ago by 30,000 Guna people who came from Panama and Colombia’s mainland. The 100-year-community is set to be the first to leave, neighbouring islands are next to follow.
The Huffpost shared more about the coming move: “Little by little, all of the Guna will have to move,” said Ligia Castro, who’s in charge of climate-change policy at Panama’s environmental ministry. “At least we have time from now to 2050 to move them slowly to the mainland.”
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What we know:
Already residents are experiencing the consequences of rising sea levels in the Caribbean island. When sea levels rise, teachers and students have to wear rubber boots to wade through water at school. Likewise, the residents have to move their belongings to higher spaces in their homes when the water rises.
The Guna people will move to modern homes in the new community of La Barriada by the end of 2023. Experts say that islands in the region will likely be underwater by 2050.
“Based on current sea-level rise predictions, it is almost certain that within the next 20 years the Guna will have to start leaving these islands, and by the end of the century, most will probably have to be abandoned,” Steven Paton, the director of the physical monitoring program at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, told the Journal.